We’ve had three weekends of exciting PHF hockey. The sample sizes are all over the place and it’s probably going to be a few weeks until we get a true sense of where all these teams stack up. With all the split weekends, forced overtimes, and gritty battles, one thing is for sure: there is very little separating the teams on this list.
Once again, these rankings are built from broadcasts, the wonderful reporting at The Ice Garden and The Victory Press, and my own personal hockey feelings. By the way, if anyone knows any other good outlets for consistent PHF coverage, please share in the comments. I’m always looking for more!
Note: I’ve updated team records to more effectively represent how they affect the standings:
(Regulation Wins - OT wins - Regulation Loss - OT Loss)
1. Boston Pride (Record: 3-2-1-0) (Previous Rank: 1)
Corinne Schroeder’s three shutout start is one of the greatest starts to a professional career in the history sports. It’s like throwing three no-hitters, or getting three hat tricks in a row, in your first three games. Seriously, a legendary accomplishment. Since then, teams have started to find cracks in the Pride’s game. Their overtime win on Saturday was not dominant, and they really let Sunday go, though not without a fight. Their quick second period comeback was a demonstration of their ridiculous scoring depth, even if they didn’t keep it up in the third. In their six games, thirteen different Pride players have scored goals. Of their five wins, all five game winning goals have been from different players. This team remains terrifying top to bottom.
2. Toronto Six (Record 3-1-1-1) (Previous Rank: 2)
Speaking of scoring depth! Coming into this season, there was quite a bit of talk about Brittany Howard, but how about Leah Lum? When the puck is on her stick, she is in control of the game, and it shows on the scoresheet. Given her resume, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised (leading scorer for team China at the 2022 Olympics, fourth all time scorer for the Shenzen KRS Venke Rays), but yeah, she’s legit. Toronto also became the first team to take down the Pride, and in convincing fashion. Toronto is really good at responding against the team they’re playing. They can grind with the Riveters, and possess tactically like they Pride. With their versatility, I expect them to compete for the top of the standings all season.
3. Connecticut Whale (Record 0-0-1-0) (Previous Rank: 3)
That’s right. The team with only one game under their belt, with the worst record in the league, is still at number three. But let’s be real, the Whale are big, talented and itching to play. Montreal will have their hands full this weekend.
4. Riveters (Record 2-0-3-0) (Previous Rank: 7)
Kelly Babstock’s goals feel angry. From what I’ve seen, the more intense the game, the harder she plays, the more her skills shine. Her resurgence, plus the additions of Sarah Bujold and Fanni Garat-Gasparics have allowed the Rivs to find a balanced scoring attack. All their games have felt like a battle which I consider a two-edged sword. On one hand, they’re honing their ability to overcome teams that might look stronger on paper. On the other, they can’t seem to put a game out of reach. Even their big win against Toronto felt in danger late into the third. If nothing else, the Rivs can guarantee us some exciting hockey.
5. Montreal Force (Record 2-0-1-1) (Previous Rank: 5)
Jade Downey-Landrey is crushing it. First hat-trick in team history, in Montreal’s first ever home game, to complete a five point night! She is unstoppable. I wonder if we’ll see more PHF teams looking to U-Sports for future signings. It was a gritty pair of battles this weekend, with a good mix of grind and skill, which I think might just be Montreal’s brand. The Rivs always make it a point to keep the games nice and physical, and Montreal matched up well in that department. Every game I’ve seen from Montreal has been entertaining and dramatic. It will be interesting to see how well they compete against a Connecticut team that expects to be fairly dominant this season.
6. Buffalo Beauts (Record 1-0-0-1) (Previous Rank: 4)
This is the definition of unfair. I know. The weather got in the way, and now they have to wait until next week to play. That’s not their fault. However, in their next game, they’re hosting the Boston Pride. Home ice is nice, but Boston is going to be very difficult. Then again, what better way to make a statement by taking down the best team in the league?
7. Whitecaps (Record 0-0-2-2) (Previous Rank: 6)
This team just can’t break through. They have managed to force overtime with the two best teams in the league, but we should also make note that the Pride team they faced did not include Loren Gabel, Elizabeth Giguere, or Becca Gilmore. Like everyone else, the Whitecaps have a few exciting new players, and they still have Lev. But I’m still shocked they let Allie Thunstrom go. She’s one of the fastest players in hockey history and has a deadly scoring touch. With her on this team, they have wins at this point. It’s as simple as that. If I were the Caps GM, I would have given her whatever she wanted.